With the fall semester just underway, I recall how anxious I was as I started my freshman year. As I watched the 1,400 freshmen march through the Arches last week, I thought I could detect a little of that same feeling from some of those wearing purple jerseys.
I can’t do much about their angst and anxiety, but I do have some things they can look forward to in the weeks ahead that make campus life richer, tastier, easier.
I start with the fact you can get a freshly brewed, dark roast cup of coffee in the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library, complete with an espresso shot and blueberry scone. Coffee Bené has a scaled-down version of its Cleveland Avenue shop right in the middle of campus so you don’t have to juggle a paper cup for two blocks through the rain and snow. You can pick up your caffeine jolt on your way to class.
That class, especially in history, sociology, political science and journalism, ought to be more interesting and lively this fall with a presidential election and two controversial amendments to the Minnesota Constitution for voters to consider. If those aren’t enough to make the class relevant or the discussion lively, I don’t know what is.
Food for thought isn’t the only nourishment around. The View in the Anderson Student Center provides choices and cuisines that boggle the mind of a guy who grew up eating tuna and noodle casseroles in the Tripp Dorm Cafeteria at the University of Wisconsin. As freshmen, we weren’t offered stir fry, veggie pizza or bow-tie pasta.
The student center also offers more places – nooks and crannies – to connect, hide out, get away or meet and greet. And on a clear, crisp day in October, you can get a panoramic view of campus, from the library clock tower, to the fountain, to the 50-yard line. If you’re looking for some excitement on a Saturday afternoon, the St. Thomas football team ought to provide a reason to stand and shout. The Tommies are coming off a 13-1 season, hopeful of another shot at a Division III championship.
So, to all the freshmen: Take a deep breath. Welcome.
And to the rest of you: Welcome back.